M5 EAST TUNNEL FILTRATION
Ms LEE RHIANNON:
I direct my question to the Minister the Roads. While we know his Government is opposed to filtering Sydney's tunnels for what the Minister evasively refers to as "haze"—
The Hon. Eric Roozendaal:
Point of order: Standing orders require that questions should not contain argument. Clearly Ms Lee Rhiannon's question contains argument.
Ms Lee Rhiannon:
To the point of order: My question is quite straightforward.
Order! I ask Ms Lee Rhiannon to provide a copy of the question. Having perused the question, I will allow it.
Ms LEE RHIANNON:
How many owners of polluting heavy vehicles have been successfully prosecuted and fined since January 2007 under the Government's smoky trucks program for the M5 East? Is the Government monitoring air quality in the M5 East tunnel to ascertain whether the smoky trucks program is having an impact and, if so, whether drivers and residents are getting results? What actual improvements in air quality does he expect will flow from his $50 million pilot filtration plan?
The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL:
The Government continues its work to deliver on its commitment to improve air quality in and around the M5 East tunnel. Previously I advised the House of the Government's air quality improvement plan for the M5 East tunnel. There are four main components of the plan. The first is a video detection system for illegal smoky trucks that became operational in June 2006. I am advised that 368 smoky vehicles were detected during the moratorium period that ended in December last year. Since the conclusion of the moratorium, operators face enforcement action if they fail to fix their trucks.
Members of the Opposition should listen to this—they could learn something. I am advised that more than 200 instances of polluting heavy vehicles were referred to the Department of Environment and Climate Change in the first half of this year for appropriate action. The second component of the plan is improved ventilation flows, with the installation of an additional 12 jet fans that were commissioned in December last year and are now operational. The third component is installation of Australia's first in-tunnel air filtration plant, which is the first in-tunnel air filtration plant of any road tunnel in Australia. I am advised that extensive community consultation was conducted on the filtration proposal.
The Minister for Planning granted approval for the construction and operation of the filtration plant in July this year. The modifications report and the Minister's approval are available on the websites of the Roads and Traffic Authority and the Department of Planning. I am advised that the works are scheduled to begin soon but have not yet started due to additional community consultation. Recently I met with representatives of community groups to hear their views. The final element of the plan is a revised ventilation strategy. The Government has made it clear that this will not be implemented until the filtration plant is operational late next year.
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA:
If honourable members have further questions, they should place them on notice.